Masculine and Feminine Gender: Rules and List
Gender is from Latin genus meaning kind or sort. The difference of sex in nature is called the difference of gender in grammar. We know all living things are normally either of the male or female sex.
The noun that denotes male is called Masculine Gender; as, man, husband, brother, son, boy king, hero, lion, etc.
The noun that denotes female is called Feminine Gender; as, woman, wife, sister, daughter, girl, queen, heroin, lioness, etc
The noun that denotes either male, as well as the female, is called Common Gender; as, friend, child, pupil, parent, servant, thief, baby, infant, neighbour, monarch.
The noun that denotes a thing of no sex, that is, a thing without life is called Neutral Gender; as, book, pen, room, tree, window, street, door, table, desk, etc.
Neutral literally means ‘neither’.
Objects without life are often personified especially in poetry or elevated prose. They are spoken of as if they were living beings. We then regard them as masculines or feminines as per the following rules:
The masculine gender is often applied to objects known for strength or violence; as, sun, summer, winter, ocean, thunder, death, time, war, etc
- The sun shed his beams on rich and poor alike.
- Winter had spread his white blanket everywhere.
The feminine gender is often applied to objects remarkable for beauty, gentleness, or grace; as, moon, earth, spring, autumn, nature, liberty, justice, mercy, peace, hope, virtue charity, modesty, etc.
- The moon has hidden her face behind a cloud.
- Spring had spread her mantle of green over the earth.
Note: Ship is often spoken of the feminine as;
The ship lost her boats in the storm.
WAYS OF FORMING THE FEMININE
There are four ways of forming the feminine of masculine nouns, these are given as follows:
1. By using an entirely different word.
- By using a prefix or adding a word before or after.
- By using a suffix -ess to the masculine.
Note: In the following the prefix –ess is added after omitting the last syllable of masculine:
Point : the suffix –ess is the commonest suffix used to form feminine from masculine and is the only one which we now use in forming a new feminine noun.
4. Foreign feminine